Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nebraska's Memorial & Rosenblatt Stadiums Make ESPN's Top 100

ESPN yesterday released a list of the top 100 most important sports venues, and both Rosenblatt Stadium (#51) and Memorial Stadium (#88) made the list. Note the distinction about "most important"; ESPN's Jim Caple starts off by saying it's not the "best 100" or his "favorite 100", but rather based on what has happened there.

Rosenblatt's claim to fame? The College World Series, of course. Says Caple:
"Because a pilgrimage to the home of the College World Series might be even better than a trip to the Final Four."
Memorial Stadium's claim to fame? Well, Caple goes to the old stereotype:
Because "Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football," and that inscription on the stadium entrance might not be hyperbole.
In this year's inaugural issue of "A Sea of Red" (you did buy a copy, didn't you?), AJ the Huskerh8r and I discussed whether Nebraska's fans are the "greatest". I think they're pretty good fans...but like all groups, we've got more than our share that give the fan base a bad name. But by that same token, I think I agree with Jon that the signs over each entrance probably should go down. In some part, it's because of who put them up in the first place. But the bigger issue is that there shouldn't be a need to brag about it either. Actions speak louder than words, and there's no need for this gratuitous self-promotion.

No, I think you can look at Nebraska's five national championships (and especially that 60-3 five year run in the middle 90's) as justification enough of Memorial Stadium's presence on that list. It's certainly not the aesthetics. While the recent improvements on the east and north have dressed it up (despite the clusterf* of not adding any entrances where the new seats were added), it's still not a great stadium from an architecture standpoint. (Certainly with most of the seats in the endzones, it's a poor design!) But it's what we've got, and the product on the field (last four years being the exception) makes it well worth it's inconveniences.

I'm sure that fans of Rosenblatt will try to point out that with Rosenblatt being #51 on the list, we shouldn't be tearing it down. But that's not the point at all. Look who's #1 on the list: Yankee Stadium, which will be demolished soon after the last ball game tommorow night. Like Rosenblatt, it's had it's time in the spotlight. But it's reached the point where it's no longer feasible to keep fixing it up. The demands of the events it holds make it obsolete. Rosenblatt could probably survive another ten years or so as it is with moderate investments, but eventually, it was going to require a complete overhaul. That complete overhaul makes the interim investments a poor investment long term. That's why the new stadium is being built. $30 million would buy Rosenblatt another five or ten years, but $100 million would still eventually need to be invested in it.

In both of these cases, it's not the aesthetics of the building, but rather the history of what happened inside that is the claim to fame.

No comments: